Written and illustrated by Blexbolex

Recipient of the Salon du Montreuil 2017 Le Pépite D'or Literary Award

Time moves slowly on vacation. And for someone who has spent a long time entertaining themselves and has had the garden, the kitchen, forest paths, the lake, and even Grandpa all to herself, it can be hard to invite another in on the fun. So when a young girl’s grandfather brings an elephant home to stay, she is not pleased at all.

Nostalgic and often dreamlike, this wordless story is about interrupted solitude, learning to be together with another, and how the choices we make deeply affect our lives.

ISBN: 978-1-59270-246-6
6.2" (W) x 8.5" (H) • 128 pages • HC

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Recipient of the Salon du Montreuil 2017 Le Pépite D'or Literary Award
Silver Medalist in the 2018 Society of Illustrators Original Art Exhibition
A USBBY Outstanding International Book of 2019
Named one of The Most Astonishingly Unconventional Children's Books of 2018 by 100 Scope Notes

★ "The enigmatic visual storytelling of French artist Blexbolex’s Ballad (2013) is more prominent than ever in this reality-bending wordless outing, which can be read as an extended picture book or as a graphic novel. ... Puzzle-loving readers will adore teasing out the book’s mysteries, and many more will simply want to lose themselves in its enchanting images." ―STARRED REVIEW, Publishers Weekly

★ "Storm clouds darken―both literally and figuratively―on a young girl's solitary summer idyll when her grandpa welcomes a new houseguest. Blexbolex teases with the new guest's identity in this wordless outing, as it may look like a small gray elephant in most of the pictures, but it behaves like another child…and appears as a boy in a pair of dream sequences. The girl greets the new arrival's friendly overtures with a cold shoulder and mean pranks initially, but she repents after alienating him so that he doesn't come home one evening and then forcing her grandpa to go out into a blustery night to fetch him back inside. By then he's fed up, though, so the standoff continues…until the night everyone in the community dons animal masks and gathers beneath the stars for a country fair. But just when it seems like the quarrel might be resolved, the girl wakes up next morning and he's gone. She catches a final glimpse of the lad―and, astonishingly, the elephant―waving from the departing train. This poignant tale of lost opportunity is presented through a series of small action and reaction shots set within larger views of a tidy country house in serene woodsy surrounds, all printed in serigraphic style on rough surfaced cloth. Emotional tapestries are easy to plot, both through the interplay of rich colors and deep shadows and the characters' strong, graceful postures and gestures. The primary (human) cast is pale-skinned. Magical work, as immersive as the author's Ballad (2013) or his larger-format picture albums." ―STARRED REVIEW, Kirkus Reviews

"Blexbolex has cracked the code." ―Matt Seneca, The Comics Journal

"Blexbolex stretches the boundaries of typical graphic novels in this deeply expressive wordless title. Relying on screen-printing techniques, he gives images a textured appearance, masterfully evoking Roy Lichtenstein’s pixelated pop art and Little Golden Books’ subdued retro charm...This stunning yet unique offering may have trouble finding an audience, but more sophisticated fans of graphic novels and wordless books may appreciate it. Under the guidance of a thoughtful adult, the work might also spur discussion about its deeper meanings" ―Alea Perez, Westmont Public Library, IL, School Library Journal

"The recipient of the Pépite d'or literary award is "a work of real ambition, a book that steps out of the ordinary, an excellent example of ambitious children's literature." ―Michel Abescat, Télérama

"With [Vacation], you feel the strength of this author's work. It's a long-term endeavor whose publication has been particularly meticulous. It's a book for everyone, with remarkable energy and spirit.” ―Sylvie Vassallo, Director of Le Salon de Montreuil

"[Vacation] is an extremely interesting offer. It is a book that you read and reread to sort out the complexity of the narrative and pick up on the winks. It's a stunning and unusual book. It should be started with an adult, but then you have to let the child venture on alone. It's an extraordinary reading adventure.” ―Frédéric Potet, Le Monde

“The artist's never-ending will to experiment and recreate images marvelously reproduces the nostalgia for happy childhood summers. Bravo!” ―Livres Hebdo

“Through imagery, Blexbolex meets the challenge of the narrative to evoke childhood with its cruelty, frustrations, rapture, and jealousies. Beautiful and clever." ―L'Express

“…it's about opening up to others, to those you might not expect, who aren't like us, but who can surprise us and amaze us.” ―20 Minutes

“It is this fragile moment of awakening to one's own cruelty that is magnificently captured in Blexbolex's book. The way the eye moves across the page owes nothing to chance in this magnetic, even hypnotic, book." ―Le Monde


The Forest